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Intel Core i7 5960X EE (Haswell-E) CPU and X99 Chipset Review

By: Shawn Baker | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Aug 29, 2014 4:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Intel

Final Thoughts


You would be extremely hard pressed to say that you don't want this CPU. You could say that it's too expensive for you, you could say that it's just too expensive for what it is. You can say a lot of things, but saying you don't want this setup doesn't really seem like one of them. This is an awesome processor from Intel - really, really awesome.


Performance limitations really come from the software and games that you're using. We need companies to write software and games that can make full use of the cores that are on offer here. While the extra FPS we see under Sleeping Dogs isn't really needed, the fact that we get it is a good thing. It means that we're able to make use of the processor.


Of course, when it comes to gaming and gaming at higher resolutions, the load from the CPU is ultimately removed and instead all placed on the video card setup. On the other hand, if you go into a setup that is high-end enough, you need all the CPU power you can get to make sure that you don't hit any kind of CPU wall, something that continues to be present on even single card setups.


When you look at something like encoding under Handbrake, you can see a program that is really able to make use of everything that is being offered from the new CPU. Looking at the cores, you see every single core bounding around that 97% - 100% when it comes to usage. It's because of that we can see Handbrake shows massive gains when compared to the other setups at stock, but also massive gains when compared against itself when overclocked. It's making use of an extra 900MHz on every single core, which in turn is offering amazing performance.


The elephant in the room when it comes to these Extreme Edition CPUs is always the price. It doesn't matter which way you look at it, $999 for a single item with in your system is just a ton of money, especially when you consider the other parts you also need to buy to really make use of it. When it comes to buying a desktop processor, this is simply the best CPU on the market, without any doubt at all. The performance is amazing and the eight cores that blow out to 16 threads thanks to Hyper-Threading means you've just got a massive truck load of computing power at your mercy.


Would I recommend this CPU to everyone? Of course not. If you told me you're looking to build a single GPU setup or even a dual GPU one, I'd say every day of the week you're better off looking at one of the other (cheaper) options. With 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes on offer, the i7 5930K and its $583 price point is the best option for people wanting to build a serious dual card setup. On the other hand, if you're looking for just a single card solution, even if it is a Dual GPU one like the R9 295X2, then we'd probably lean more towards the i7 5820K. With 28 PCIe 3.0 lanes instead of 40, it's a great option for people who just need a single PCIe x16 slot.


Of course this comes from the perspective of someone who is gaming. That's the main focus for us here as we know that's what a large amount of our reader are. When it comes to needing a CPU for real desktop tasks, though, and using applications that can make use of the full eight cores and 16 threads, it becomes a bit of a different picture. The big problem is without testing the other processors personally, it's hard to say which exactly the best to buy is. We can't deny the fact, though, that if you've got the money and you've got the applications that can make use of all those cores and threads, the 5960X EE is clearly going to be the best option.


If you've got the money and you've been dreaming about building that dream rig, the simple fact is that while you might not need the i7 5960X EE, we're going to see a ton of people purchase it because they simply want the best of the best. They're going to team it up with a beautiful 1TB SSD drive or two, a massive 32GB or 64GB of DDR4 - speaking of which, brings us to another topic.


Quad-channel DDR4 brings more performance to the table. We don't doubt that for a second. The question is, where do we see that extra performance? It's really a little hard to pin point right now. DDR4, the X99 chipset and the new Haswell line of processors are all integrated and designed around each other, and designed well. DDR3 has really run its course and it's been quiet in the market for at least a year now. While we're not exactly sure just where DDR4 really helps yet, we can't deny that we love that it's here, and running together nicely with Haswell-E and the X99 chipset.


The Extreme Edition crop of processors have a certain kind of person in mind: those that demand the absolute best, and are willing to pay for it. If you're that kind of person, welcome to your new processor, it's a very easy choice to make. If you're not, though, the good news is that Intel are thinking of you. While we haven't tested them, based on the information we have, past history and just our general understanding of how this area works, the i7 5930K and i7 5820K are very capable alternatives that aren't going to bust the bank account wide open.


While you might be tempted to just skip the i7 4790K and move to the i7 5820K which sits just $50 more expensive, you can't forget that both the X99 platform is going to add a premium, along with the need to buy new memory (DDR4). While $50 for the new processor might not seem much, the other parts will add up and make building an X99 DDR4 machine quite a bit more expensive than a Z97 DDR3 system.


Intel's Core i7 5960X EE is just the first part to a three piece puzzle. Keep an eye out for a look at our first DDR4 review, along with a much closer look at the impressive ASRock X99X Killer motherboard, which we used in this review to test the CPU. The platform on a whole is a ton of fun, and I'm really looking forward to testing more and more parts based around it. For now, though, we'll leave you with this drool worthy piece of hardware.



PRICING: You can find the Intel Core i7-5960X 3.0 GHz Extreme Haswell-E Processor for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.


United States: The Intel Core i7-5960X 3.0 GHz Extreme Haswell-E Processor retails for $1049.99 at Amazon.




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